By Steve Riches
The Laguna Beach Water Polo teams, 14U and 12U each won silver medals in the Southern Pacific Junior Olympic Qualifying Tournament thus qualifying for the Junior Olympics National Championships
Regional Junior Olympic Water Polo Qualifying Tournaments are held countrywide to field a select group of teams to compete in this summer’s Junior Olympic National Championships at Stanford University in August.
The 14U girls’ team started off the preliminary round with two solid wins, defeating Valley Falcon of Santa Ana by a score of 17-1, followed by an 18-0 victory against the SOCAL of Tustin Gold team. These victories set up the Laguna girls for a semifinal game against United of Los Alamitos, and they came away with an 8-5 win.
The championship game against the SOCAL of Tustin Black team saw Laguna up 3-2 at the end of the second quarter, but SOCAL was able to surge ahead in the third and fourth quarters, with a 7-3 win.
The 12U girls’ team’s first win Saturday morning was 8-5 against Tritons of San Clemente. Saturday afternoon the girls dominated Back Bay of Irvine with a 12-3 win. Saturday evening the girls were in action again, with a nice 10-9 win over the number one seed, United of Los Alamitos. Sunday saw the girls in the finals against Northwood of Irvine. The two teams battled goal for goal throughout the game, with Northwood scoring the winning goal in the last 30 seconds to win 5-4.
“We are pretty excited about this past weekend, with strong finishes for both the 12U and 14U girls divisions. Each team has a lot of work to finish on top in this summer’s National Junior Olympics, but we have great potential to be National Champions, if we can keep improving and working hard,” commented club administrator Chad Beeler.